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DATE: Sept. 19, 1998
COUNTY: Summit County
NEAREST TOWN: Leadville
NEAREST ROAD: CO 91
OBSERVED: I lived in Colorado for 29 years. Eighteen of those I spent working at ski resorts. Over the years I've seen hundreds of deer and elk as well as dozens of bear, everything from cubs to large 400 pound males. In the last 4 years I've had 3 separate sightings of 4 creatures that I hesitate to identify.
The first happened in the fall of 1998 off the highway between Copper Mountain and Leadville. As I was driving towards Leadville, I saw what I at first thought was a large tree stump that someone had carved like a totem pole. It was about 100 feet to my left on the valley floor.
While I was marveling at the detail of the carving the "totem pole" rotated from the waist up and looked at me. I slammed on my brakes and skidded to a stop on the shoulder. When the dust cleared the creature was gone. I turned the car around but no luck. What I saw was hairy from head to toe, very thick with broad shoulders and lacked the long snout and round rump that bears have.
OTHER WITNESSES: One
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Daytime, clear light.
ENVIRONMENT: Open meadow, flanked by mountain hillside with lodgepole pine and spruce.
A & G References: Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer, page 46, A-1
Follow-up investigation report:
Witness, 42, was returning from a trip to Denver.
"I turned off at I-70 at Copper Mountain. I'd gone 10-15 minutes up the road and came to a little valley floor where there was an open area you might call a meadow. As I was coming up, way ahead I noticed a really tall tree stump at least eight feet tall. I thought 'Look look at that, it must have been a blue spruce.' As I got closer it started to look like someone carved it. So I now thought, 'Wow, someone must have come out and carved that tree.'
"As I started to ask myself, 'Why would someone carve this thing?' -- it seemed to rotate from the waist up and look at me. I've seen dozen of bears, and this was much more than that.
"I saw a head and obvious facial features. It was furry from head to toe. There was a little gap between one arm and its body. It had long legs. At this point I was perpendicular to it and looking right at it. I started hitting my brakes. Right then a car coming from the other direction hit his horn. I just slammed on my brakes, pulled over and skidded to a stop. I kicked up this huge amount of dust, and lost sight of it. I spun my jeep around, went back, and couldn't see a thing -- there wasn't any tree out in the middle of the field, there wasn't anything.
"There was no snout, no ears. When you see a bear, you usually see a big butt, round ears and a snout that looks like a large dog's snout. I saw none of that.
"In all honesty, it could have been a huge man in a costume just goofing with people. But I went to high school with a guy who was 6' 10'' and 250 pounds. I used to work with a pastry chef who was 6' 7'' and 300 lbs. This thing was bigger than that. And a big man in a suit couldn't clear out that quickly.
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